Jim Zub reunites Beast and Wonder Man for Marvel Legacy!

UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Jim Zub takes the goal of the Unity Squad to heart: to unite people of the Marvel Universe regardless of status, power level, race, or creed. And even though the squad’s been technically disbanded, Marvel Legacy gets a kick start when he brings two old friends back together—Wonder Man and Beast.

On October 11, Zub joins artist Sean Izaakse with a new start for two of the Universe’s best pals in UNCANNY AVENGERS #28! We caught up with Jim to hear more about how one of Marvel’s greatest friendships will impact the Unity Squad.

Marvel.com: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Wonder Man and Beast together—how did you first become familiar with their connection?

Jim Zub: I’m a big fan of Simon and Hank, absolutely. I grew up on ‘80s Marvel stories and read backwards and forwards at the same time—enjoying new super hero stories while also collecting back issues from the ‘70s—so their friendship acts as a central component to how I see both characters. It’s a classic friendship on the same level, for me, as Power Man and Iron Fist or Wolverine and Nightcrawler.

Marvel.com: Did you do any research to refamiliarize yourself with their dynamic? What’s key to getting that dynamic correct?

Jim Zub: I always read key issues for characters I’m writing, this story included. I dug through classic AVENGERS storylines where they both appeared and reacquainted myself with their antics.

There’s a playful honesty to Hank and Simon’s friendship that I really enjoy. I wanted to make sure I reflected that here in UNCANNY AVENGERS. They’re silly, but beneath that silliness exists a strong humility and the ability to admit when they’ve screwed up. Hank and Simon are truthful with each other even when it hurts. They know when to joke and when to dig deep into the heart of a problem.

Marvel.com: How did Sean Izaakse’s artwork help to nail the tone of their friendship?

Jim Zub: Sean’s an exemplary artist and the kind of collaborator who brings his A-game to every page. No matter what I write, he’s always going to deliver something even better than I originally imagined—it’s pure joy.

Sean’s a big ol’ Marvel nostalgia buff like I am and the instant he found out he would be drawing Hank and Simon tipping pints and kicking butts his enthusiasm drove the whole thing forward. He handles quiet moments of conversation and big action with equal confidence. I think readers are going to love it.

Marvel.com: What brings Simon and Hank together in issue #28?

Jim Zub: Both Beast and Wonder Man are heroes who have struggled to find their place and that’s a big part of what this issue of UNCANNY AVENGERS will be about. Sometimes you need to sit down with someone you trust and lay out what you’ve been doing so you can figure out where you should go and what you want to do next in life. These two friends are trying to find their way after difficult times and bad choices. It’s part confessional, part drink-up, with a side of super villainy that needs to be taken care of.

Marvel.com: What made this storyline the right way to open up the Marvel Legacy era for UNCANNY AVENGERS?

Jim Zub: Beast and Wonder Man haven’t been mainstays of the series, but their story symbolically reflects where the whole team finds themselves right now. Steve Rogers disbanded the Unity Squad in the lead up to Secret Empire, but they’re still around—out of shared purpose instead of a formal Avengers mandate. They’re looking for a new path and finding people they trust to stick with them through thick and thin.

Marvel.com: Besides Simon and Hank, who else can fans expect to encounter in this issue?

Jim Zub: The rest of Team Uncanny will be here as well—Rogue, Human Torch, Doctor Voodoo, Wasp, Synapse, Quicksilver, and The Scarlet Witch. These characters illustrate a Venn diagram of different parts of the Marvel Universe: human, mutant, inhuman, mystic—you name it. I’m juggling a big ol’ pile of super heroes and it’s a ball.

Marvel.com: For fans familiar with the Beast-Wonder Man buddy comics of old, what would you say to convince them to snag this issue? And for fans who may be less familiar, what’s your pitch?

Jim Zub: The heart and humor you remember from classic Beast and Wonder Man AVENGERS stories will be here—but we’re not just retreading the past. It’s easy to jump in and get a feel for where these characters are now and the decisions they’re making moving forward. We’re respectful of continuity without getting mired in it.

Marvel Legacy draws upon an understanding of what’s come before to take a confident step into the future. That’s what we’re doing on UNCANNY AVENGERS and across the Marvel Universe. I hope you’ll join us.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #28, written by Jim Zub with art by Sean Izaakse, hits on October 11!

Read More

The Uncanny Avengers writer appreciates Kirby’s take on Bucky and more!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Jim Zub understood something very important about Jack Kirby’s work from the beginning: he helped build it from the ground up. That might seem obvious given how many incredibly important books Jack drew ranging from the original CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS on to FANTASTIC FOUR and AVENGERS, but still needs to be celebrated.

Zub did that when he started working on THUNDERBOLTS starring none other than Bucky Barnes. We talked with the writer about digging into Bucky’s origins, the beauty of ETERNALS and Kirby’s absolute dynamism.

Marvel.com: Was Jack Kirby a creator you were aware of when you first started reading comics or did you come to his work later on down the line?

Jim Zub: Like most comic readers, I started with a love of the characters and then started to dig into specific creators as I realized different stories struck a chord with me, visually or narratively. I started collecting Marvel comics in the early 80s, so Jack’s legacy as the “King of Comics” and key artistic figure in the creation of the Marvel Universe was already well established. As a kid, his work jumped out as “classic Marvel,” the foundation everything else was built upon.

Marvel.com: Do you remember what struck you about the way Kirby made comics when you first started seeing his art?

Jim Zub: Kirby comics always felt to me like they were barely held in check by the edge of the page: dynamic, chunky graphic shapes that wanted to break free of their panels and smash you in the face. Big, bold, and never standing still.

I remember reading the original run of ETERNALS and being amazed at the power and scope of it. Jack wasn’t holding back and, even as a kid, I could tell that this was world-shaking stuff, an operatic cosmic whirlwind.

Marvel.com: When you kicked off the latest THUNDERBOLTS volume, did you look back at any of Kirby’s Bucky issues to get a feel of the Winter Soldier’s roots? If so, did anything you saw in those older issues surprise you or inform your take on the character?

Jim Zub: I read a slew of old Captain America and Bucky stories for research, including the classic Bucky origin from CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1 that Jack drew. It got me into the mode for flashbacks and the time traveling jaunt back to World War II we had in THUNDERBOLTS #11. I love the mixture of action and pathos Jack brought to every page. Even though the origin has gone through changes over the years, I thought it was important to channel the Kirby-flare of the original.

Marvel.com: You also worked with Baron Zemo in that book. How do you feel the original Kirby co-creation continues on in this modern version?

Jim Zub: Baron Zemo is a man driven by intense emotions and that’s held true right from the start with Jack’s hooded menace. Kirby set the mold with Zemo and dozens of other Marvel heroes and villains. It’s a thrill to add new layers to such well-defined iconic characters.

Marvel.com: A lot of that led directly into Secret Empire, which you’re also participating in as the writer on UNCANNY AVENGERS and SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED. That event puts a different spin on what Captain America means, at least for the moment, but how do you see it all connecting back to the stories that helped build the Marvel Universe?

Jim Zub: Jack wasn’t afraid to switch things up, whether that meant creating characters and altering established paradigms or trying new styles like incorporating photos into his artwork. The only way to find something fresh and exciting is to take risks and that’s exactly what Kirby did. When Marvel creators push out into strange territory and shake these characters up, it’s exciting but also a time-honored tradition.

Captain America gets put through the wringer, but through that we see his strength and the power of his ideals renewed. These icons get tested year after year with drama, pathos, and loads of action.

Marvel.com: Kirby did his own thing whenever he could in comics; do you feel like you carry that on to some extent in your own work?

Jim Zub: I think it’s important to put some of yourself into the work, absolutely. Each era of these characters is defined by strong voices, distinct artwork, and big stakes. When I pitch my stories, I want to make every issue worthy and do something readers will remember.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Jim Zub talks about his team’s attempt to save Manhattan from Secret Empire seclusion!

Manhattan has been trapped in the Darkforce since SECRET EMPIRE #1 and on July 12, the “Big Apple” finally seems to be buckling under the strain of it all. Even a city that prides itself on toughness and almost nothing interrupting its routine has limits.

UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Jim Zub, however, still has hope.

“Baron Zemo and Blackout have exiled Manhattan to a Darkforce-encased prison crawling with otherworldly monsters,” he acknowledges. “The Uncanny Avengers are trapped within, but they’ve got what it takes to save the city and themselves.”

In UNCANNY AVENGERS #25, Zub’s confidence in the team will be put to the test. Before it all goes down though, we gave him a chance to tell us why we must keep the faith with thoughts on how each member approaches the crisis.

The Human Torch: One of the Marvel Universe’s most experienced heroes, he has gone into numerous unusual realms—the Negative Zone, for one—and came back as strong as ever. Surviving a city ensnared in Darkforce cannot be all that different for him.

“Heat and light to combat the chilling forcing of the eternal night?” muses Zub. “Johnny will answer the call.”

Synapse: The Inhuman has tangled with tragedy and come out the other side if not unscathed, certainly unbroken. If she can help stop The Shredded Man—her grandfather—and not give up on being a costumed hero, what chance do monsters have at breaking her spirit?

“When crowds of people are tense and afraid, Synapse has the power to keep them calm and focused,” the writer points out. “Bolstering innocent bystanders and teammates alike against the oppressive forces trying to wear them down.”

Uncanny Avengers #25 cover by RB Silva

The Wasp: A founding Avenger who has remained bright and sunny during some of the most heartbreaking personal crises and devastating super powered fracas, Janet has even survived death to arrive at this moment.

“Janet’s one of the most experienced Avengers around,” Zub reminds. “Invasions, overwhelming odds, and heroes on the defensive? Been there, done that. Add in her ability to slip in unseen and take out opponents from the inside—Janet’s got this.”

Doctor Voodoo: A mystic capable of wielding great power, Voodoo has a secret weapon many might not recognize on first blush. That “Doctor” in his name is not a hollow honorific; Jericho Drumm earned it in Psychology, making him able to address the struggles within the people surrounding him, not just the battle raging around them.

“Supernatural monsters and spirits are Jericho’s specialty,” argues the writer. “He’s been Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, and those mystic skills and spells will serve him well against creatures from the Darkforce dimension.”

Rogue: Rogue has been a villain. Rogue has hurt those around her with her powers. Rogue has seen friends fall and ideals be dashed; mentors betray and teammates corrupted. But she has also witnessed acts of heroics both big and small. She has overcome her questionable past to become a defender of others. She has hit the brink and returned. Darkness—literal or internal—has not bested her yet.

“Rogue handled demons invading New York way back in Inferno,” concludes Zub. “She has super strength, flight, and an upbeat attitude to stick things out when darkness looms around every corner.”

See how the team fares in UNCANNY AVENGERS #25 by Jim Zub and Kim Jacinto!

Read More

New writer Jim Zub attempts to guide his team through Secret Empire!

In SECRET EMPIRE #0, many of New York City’s heroes ended up trapped in a prison made up of the Darkforce—including the Uncanny Avengers! In issue #24 of their title, the team seeks to escape from the Big Apple, and new series writer Jim Zub shared a few hints at what to expect as they attempt their breakout!

Marvel.com: So the team finds itself imprisoned in UNCANNY AVENGERS #24, which is a Secret Empire tie-in. How did they end up in this predicament?

Jim Zub: As shown in Secret Empire #0, Baron Zemo and Blackout have plunged New York City into darkness, cutting the island off from the rest of the world. The Uncanny Avengers are caught in the city and have to fight to save people and themselves from the Darkforce creatures that have been unleashed in their mystic prison.

Marvel.com: So with a team like the Uncanny Avengers, you have several unique power sets: mutant, Inhuman, and of course, the always faithful “Flame on!” courtesy of Johnny Storm. How do you possibly hold all these unique super-powered beings?

Jim Zub: The Uncanny Avengers are powerful but, caught off guard and cut off from Quicksilver and many other heroes, they’re plunged into a Darkforce invasion that will keep all of them on their toes no matter how powerful they are.

Marvel.com: Then, of course, you have Doctor Voodoo. Can’t he just cast a spell and free all his teammates?

Jim Zub: He tries just that in UNCANNY AVENGERS #24 and it has…interesting consequences that will cause even more problems for the team. Read on and you’ll see.

Marvel.com: With this being your first issue and your first time writing some of these characters, who have you really enjoyed working on thus far? Who is becoming your favorite?

Jim Zub: It’s really hard to pick a favorite because there are some many wonderful characters with histories rooted deep in the mighty Marvel Universe, but Rogue is quickly becoming a standout for me. Her strength and attitude really drives the story forward.

Marvel.com: And finally, if you were trapped in this prison, which Uncanny Avenger would you enlist to help break you out?

Jim Zub: In a Darkforce prison? Johnny Storm is a must. When darkness attacks from all sides, only the light can keep us safe.

Join the breakout efforts on June 14 in UNCANNY AVENGERS #24 by Jim Zub and Kim Jacinto!

Read More

Writer Jim Zub tours the radical landscape of Steve Rogers’ America!

In Steve Rogers’ America, mutants have their own territory, New Tian—a win for Homo Superior, who traditionally find themselves “hated and feared” in the Marvel Universe. But tensions rise in this new world order—tensions detailed in the June 14-debuting SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED by writer Jim Zub and artist Ario Anindito.

We spoke with Zub about the role mutants play in Secret Empire, who you can expect to see in the halls of New Tian, and more!

Marvel.com: We learned in the first issue of SECRET EMPIRE that mutants in the Hydra-controlled U.S.A. have their own territory. What can you tell us about this? How did it come into being?

Jim Zub: New Tian is a mutant freehold of sorts, but not without complication. Mutants may have their own territory, but any peace they have with the Hydra Nation is tenuous at best. On the ground and in the halls of power, there’s trouble stirring.

Marvel.com: And which merry mutants find themselves living in New Tian?

Jim Zub: I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a really interesting cross section of members from pretty much any mutant team you can name. Expect to see Xorn, Archangel, Sebastian Shaw, and Magik, among others.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Xorn, I hear he’s in charge of New Tian. How does he keep the peace with Hydra after what they’ve done to America?

Jim Zub: Xorn is in an unenviable position, trying to maintain the gains New Tian represents for his people while abhorring what Hydra represents and their tactics. Whether that peace can be maintained is one of the big plot points we cover in SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED.

Secret Empire: United #1 cover by Ryan Stegman

Marvel.com: What’s it been like working with Ario Anindito?

Jim Zub: Ario is wonderful! His work has rock solid storytelling without sacrificing action-packed panels; I know readers are going to eat up. This [story] is filled to the brim with excitement and unexpected turns and Ario is delivering the goods.

Marvel.com: Between THUNDERBOLTS, upcoming issues of UNCANNY AVENGERS, and now this series, you’ve been drafted, so to speak, into Secret Empire on a pretty big level. What’s it been like, working on a Marvel event like this?

Jim Zub: Thunderbolts touched on Civil War II, so I got a taste for the kind of teamwork involved in these kind of line-wide events, but this time it’s much more extensive. I’m enjoying the challenge of carving out stories that stand on their own while also strengthening the overall vision of the event.

The Marvel Universe exists because of stories that share a common space, evolving with creative synergies between old and new ideas. Being part of that, contributing and collaborating to create something unexpected and entertaining, is a blast.

Survey the scene with Jim Zub and Ario Anindito on June 14 with SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED!

Read More

Marvel’s mutants come together against the threat of HYDRA!

The Secret Empire. A name that hearkens back to 1966 when it first came to light as one of HYDRA’s auxiliary organizations. Over 50 years later, the group stands poised at the brink of achieving its dream: Taking over the government of the United States with the most unlikely of heroes at its head—Captain America!

Who stands united before the Secret Empire? Would you believe, Marvel’s mightiest mutants? Only writer Jim Zub and artist Ario Anindito know more as they prepare to take readers into SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED #1. Expect the unexpected when these secrets stand revealed this June!

We spoke with Zub and Anindito for a little sneak peek of what’s to come!

Marvel.com: We know Steve Rogers has been working for HYDRA to conquer the United States, now having taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. Is it possible we could be looking at another super hero conflict with those looking to bring down the Secret Empire and those working for it? 

Jim Zub: There are multiple factions involved in this conflict and that’s exactly what our story in SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED digs into. HYDRA’s big moves create strife, both inside and out and, as much as Steve would like for HYDRA to be a unified front, the group of villains he’s assembled have their own plans for the future.

Ario Anindito: It’s a battle of good versus evil, but in terms of which heroes are involved, well—just wait and see!

Marvel.com: Shifting gears, in what ways do you see Secret Empire, and more specifically, SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED, pushing against the current status quo in the Marvel Universe? 

Jim Zub: UNITED is a mixture of high-level, political intrigue and ground-level combat between mutants and the forces of HYDRA. I’m using both well-known and obscure characters in Marvel’s mutant canon to show how these political machinations crash headlong into the day-to-day lives of people living with the ramifications of HYDRA’s grand conquest.

Ario Anindito: It’s a reality check on what’s actually happening right now on the ground between HYDRA and the mutants; how they react against each other and what comes next. The ramifications will ripple out from here to the rest of the event and the bigger Marvel Universe.

Secret Empire: United #1 cover by Ryan Stegman

Marvel.com: Visually, what excites you about SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED?

Ario Anindito: I’m a big fan of the mutants, so I am very excited to draw as many of them as possible along with how they interact with Steve Rogers and his HYDRA team. I’m also looking forward showing off some big action visuals. HYDRA versus mutants and no one is holding back! Let the good times roll.

Jim Zub: Corrupted heroes battling a mutant strike force infused with Magik—er, magic.

Marvel.com: How does SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED tie into the greater story playing out across the Marvel Universe?

Jim Zub: The SECRET EMPIRE core series shows how Steve Rogers and HYDRA have established their new order. This one-shot tie-in shows the broader effect that has on the X-titles and what each side is willing to do in order to either keep peace or destroy each other.

Ario Anindito: This issue shows how the big game will be played between HYDRA and mutantkind as the event develops. The chess pieces are starting to move and the stakes are high.

Stand against HYDRA with SECRET EMPIRE: UNITED, this June!

Read More

New writer Jim Zub embeds the Unity Squad in the upcoming event!

As we get closer and closer to the dawn of Secret Empire, many of our favorite characters will find themselves drawn into dramatic circumstances. That will definitely be the case with the Unity Squad featured in UNCANNY AVENGERS!

We caught up with Jim Zub, new writer on the series, about his plans for the team and their role in this exciting summer event. And, for anyone attending this weekend’s Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, don’t miss the Marvel: Next Big Thing panel on Saturday March 4 at 2:45 pm where he’ll fill you in on all things UNCANNY.

Marvel.com: UNCANNY AVENGERS issues #24 and #25 will tie in with Secret Empire. What can you tell us about the team’s involvement in this event?

Jim Zub: That’s a surprisingly tough question! As you might imagine, Secret Empire is filled with secrets so I can’t reveal too much just yet. The Uncanny Avengers are quite powerful and capable with older and experienced heroes like Rogue, Wasp, and The Human Torch on the team. [Captain America] and the forces of Hydra understand that and they make plans to, let’s say, keep them out of play. We’ll see the team getting caught up in machinations they hadn’t expected, and it will sideline and threaten them in unexpected ways.

Marvel.com: We like seeing our heroes outsmart Hydra. But in issue #24, Hydra will have the upper hand. Can you tell us about writing this story, where the team really has to scramble out of a bad situation?

Jim Zub: I had fun starting my run on the book with the team thrown right into the deep end. Issue #24 opens with big action as the team gets caught off-guard and on the defensive. As the readers dig into Secret Empire, they’ll understand the bigger events that have pulled the team into this situation, while our heroes are still trying to figure that out on their own. If you read UNCANNY AVENGERS you’ll see that something terrible has happened and the team is trying to work through it and if you read SECRET EMPIRE, you’ll see exactly how dire it really is and what’s actually at stake.

Marvel.com: You will take over the series from Gerry Duggan with issue #24. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

Jim Zub: Gerry has done an incredible job with this wonderful cross-section of characters. I’ve really enjoyed getting to pick up the torch from him—literally the torch, because The Human Torch is included—and continue their story. To me, the team feels like a family. We’ve seen them on other teams and they’ve had other loyalties, but the missions they’ve gone on as Avengers have created a strong bond. They have to look out for each other.

All the characters on the UNCANNY AVENGERS [team] have found themselves pulled together in an unexpected fashion. Almost all of them have deep roots in the Marvel Universe. I’ve had a blast showing them together, holding their own against some top-tier opponents.

Uncanny Avengers #24 cover by RB Silva

Marvel.com: Secret Empire will also influence THUNDERBOLTS, which you write as well. Can you talk about the experience of weaving these longer story arcs in with the twists of an event like this?

Jim Zub: It’s a lot of work, but also tons of fun. The earlier in the process you can set your priorities, the better. When I talk to CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS writer Nick Spencer, or to the editorial team, Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith, or Gerry, we try to find ways to make sure we all get out of it what we need, so we can take advantage of everyone’s priorities for the overall story.

Everyone involved in the event comes together and says, “What do you need and how can we introduce that into the story in the most emotionally satisfying way? What makes sense in terms of our end goals?” As you discuss it back and forth, you see new possibilities and that empowers you to create something even better. You plan maybe 80 percent of it, and then you have another 20 percent where you realize you can add in an unexpected twist or go deeper with an emotional element; that’s the stuff I find really satisfying.

Marvel.com: UNCANNY AVENGERS has built itself on some really interesting relationships like Deadpool and Rogue or Quicksilver and Synapse. Do you plan to continue that?

Jim Zub: Definitely! I think every team book needs those relationships; it has to have that heart beating under the surface, otherwise you wouldn’t keep reading it. The Secret Empire tie-in issues throw the [Unity Squad] into the deep end, so we won’t see too much relationship material initially but, after they make it through that, we’ve got cool plans and will continue developing those relationships and friendships. Gerry’s run emphasized that these characters stay together because of shared ideas, not just a government mandate or anything like that. They don’t have a charter or chairperson. They have an emotional, mission-based connection.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention anything else?

Jim Zub: Playing in the Marvel super hero sandbox has been a wonderful experience so far. Getting the chance to work on an Avengers monthly title has been surreal, and I look forward to building something fun and exciting for readers every issue.

Look for Jim Zub to begin his run as writer of UNCANNY AVENGERS with issue #24, coming in June!

Read More

Jim Zub brings Bucky back to a key moment in his past!

Like all of us, Bucky Barnes has had some dramatic, defining moments; experiences that set off a chain reaction of cause and effect in his life.

In the upcoming THUNDERBOLTS #11 on March 29, Bucky will revisit one of those moments, and explore what led him to become the Winter Solder. He’ll also confront the truth about Steve Rogers.

We caught up with writer Jim Zub about what we can expect from this exciting story.

Marvel.com: The THUNDERBOLTS and CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS storylines have led to this point where it makes sense for Bucky to start to figure out Steve’s secrets. Can you tell us a little about the experience of bringing the story to this dramatic moment?

Jim Zub: It feels great to contribute to something that has been slowly and carefully built over such a long period of time. We really had the space to mold the relationship between Kobik and the rest of the team, especially with Bucky, and now all that will pay off with emotional intensity as Secret Empire kicks into gear. Through each part of “Return of the Masters,” our THUNDERBOLTS anniversary story that leads into [the event], we’ve got big revelations and payoffs.

Marvel.com: This issue takes Bucky back to one of his most infamous moments: when he jumped onboard a plane carrying a bomb during World War II that ultimately led to his assumed death and becoming The Winter Soldier. Why did you make that choice, and what can Bucky hope to accomplish?

Jim Zub: Once I found out that Kobik, a living cosmic cube, would be on the team and I learned about her abilities, I started thinking about the most intense thing she could do to “help” Bucky. Sending him back to World War II so he could try and change his fate stuck in my head, and I felt thrilled that we could make it a part of the bigger story. It brings James back to his roots and shows how far he has come.

Marvel.com: The truth of Steve’s past has become a huge issue lately, and now we’ll see Bucky looking at his own past and what led him to become The Winter Soldier. Do you see any significance in having Steve and Bucky’s stories parallel each other in this way?

Jim Zub: Steve and James have an incredible bond, but at crucial points in their stories they’ve gone down similar, but ultimately very different paths that define them. Exploring how those fit together and the decisions that made them who they are deepens our understanding of their heroism, or now, in Steve’s case, his role as a villain.

Thunderbolts #11 cover by Jon Malin

Thunderbolts #11 cover by Jon Malin

Marvel.com: Steve and Bucky had a recent run-in at S.H.I.E.L.D. And their friendship always seems to run into stumbling blocks. What do you think we can expect for the two of them in the near future? Will they ever get to just have fun being BFFs?

Jim Zub: I know where Secret Empire will go and I’ll tell you that we’ll head deep into the darkness before we’ll see any possibility of pushing through to the light. Cap and Bucky’s friendship—and their loyalty to each other—has never faced a test like this. Whatever happens, they won’t come out of it the same—if they come through to the other side.

Marvel.com: We can see Steve and Bucky as, in a lot of ways, mirror images of each other, with Steve as the perfect hero and Bucky as, in some ways, the black sheep that Steve could have become if things had gone a little differently for him. But lately, we’ve seen their roles somewhat reversed, with Steve as the one keeping secrets and Bucky as the “man on the wall” and the moral compass of the Thunderbolts. Has that played into this story at all for you?

Jim Zub: That contrast factored into our plan right from the beginning. The Winter Soldier has taken on a heroic leadership role, albeit with a group of sometimes-villains, and we see Steve now acting in a more clandestine way and hiding his true nature from everyone who has trusted him for years. We’ve got a fun bit of push and pull as we test what makes these characters so great, and we keep readers guessing where it all leads.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Jim Zub: I’ve had such a blast writing the Winter Soldier and the rest of the Thunderbolts because I see these characters as incredibly flawed people trying to find their way in the world. Like the best Marvel characters, their flaws make them more relatable and, even when they mess up, you can’t help but root for them to come out on top.

Relive a key moment in Marvel history with THUNDERBOLTS #11 by Jim Zub and Jon Malin, coming March 29!

Read More

Writer Jim Zub counts down his favorite moments in T-Bolts history!

Everyone’s favorite reluctant heroes/sometimes criminals will celebrate their 20th anniversary next month. Original creators Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley will join current writer Jim Zub and artist Jon Malin for the festivities in THUNDERBOLTS #10 on February 22. In preparation, we asked Zub to give us his thoughts on the top 20 moments in T-Bolts history.

“20 years of Thunderbolts,” he exclaimed. “Hard to believe how quickly the time has gone by. The Merry Misfits at Marvel asked me if I could put together my own top 20 list of favorite Thunderbolts moments. Distilling so many wonderful stories down to 20 favorites was tough, so I gave myself a couple rules:

A) The story in question had to include at least one member of the original team. Nothing against the other teams, this just made it easier for me to parse them all down to a manageable list.

B) It had to be one I didn’t write. I’d consider it egotistical and a bit too self-serving to try and insert myself into the Thunderbolts legacy this early on. I hope we’re building memorable tales that readers will fondly remember, but I’ll let someone else decide that during the Thunderbolts 25th anniversary in 2022.

I know I’ll end up forgetting some and shaking my fist when they come to mind.”

  1. Citizen V VS Baron Zemo?
    Thunderbolts (1997) #17

    Thunderbolts (1997) #17

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “We see Baron Zemo as Citizen V, until a new Citizen V confronts him. These kinds of mysteries made the Thunderbolts extra-special as they kept readers guessing month after month.”
  1. Nuff Said
    THUNDERBOLTS (1997) #59
    “Songbird has had rich and engaging growth as a character and I’d consider this almost completely silent issue iconic. We see where she has been and what she wants to become.”
  1. Giant-Size Man-Thing
    Thunderbolts (2006) #162

    Thunderbolts (2006) #162

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “A playful nod to a classic comic title. I loved seeing a Giant-Size Man-Thing made manifest as chaos breaks out everywhere.”
  1. The Thunderbolts Rebel Against Zemo
    Thunderbolts (1997) #12

    Thunderbolts (1997) #12

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “The group makes the crucial decision to try and become heroes, even if that means betraying their leader. The fallout from this defines the Thunderbolts and their winding road trying to find redemption.”
  1. Thunderbolts VS the New Masters of Evil
    Thunderbolts (1997) #20

    Thunderbolts (1997) #20

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “The Thunderbolts try to make a go of it as heroes, but they also don’t want the Crimson Cowl trying to horn in on their legacy as the Masters of Evil. I’d call this villain vs. villain scrap a classic.”
  1. Zemo Kills the Grandmaster
    Thunderbolts (2006) #108

    Thunderbolts (2006) #108

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    THUNDERBOLTS (2006) #108
    “Zemo’s big plan to steal the Grandmaster’s power for himself plays out masterfully here. I love grand schemes and big payoffs.”
  1. Thunderbolts VS Hyperion
    Thunderbolts (2006) #153

    Thunderbolts (2006) #153

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “So much fun—this one really stuck with me. When Hyperion betrays the Thunderbolts and they get their revenge on him, culminating in using Man-Thing’s acidic touch, we get to see such a satisfying comeuppance. Loved it.”
  1. Green Goblin Goes on a Rampage
    Thunderbolts (2006) #120

    Thunderbolts (2006) #120

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    THUNDERBOLTS (2006) #120
    “Norman Osborn finally cracks and, during a chaotic breakout attempt, he reclaims his identity as the Green Goblin and goes wild. Such a great dramatic moment that the series had built up for months.”
  1. Moonstone Kills
    Thunderbolts (1997) #14

    Thunderbolts (1997) #14

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “While away on Kosmos, Moonstone slays the Primotur and puts the group who witnesses it in a wonderfully awkward situation, as they need to help her cover it up in order to get home to Earth. Manipulative Moonstone makes great stories happen.”
  1. Luke Cage Takes Charge of the Raft
    Thunderbolts (2006) #144

    Thunderbolts (2006) #144

    • Published: May 26, 2010
    • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 13, 2011
    • Writer: Jeff Parker
    • Penciller: Kev Walker
    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “Changing the Thunderbolts from prisoners to wardens—a deft maneuver that brought with it new responsibilities and drama and kicked off one of my favorite runs of the series.”
  1. Jolt Joins the Team
    Thunderbolts (1997) #4

    Thunderbolts (1997) #4

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “Jolt’s addition to the team helped set them on a path of redemption. Her optimism and empathy helped them question where they wanted to go and who they wanted to become.”
  1. The Golden Age Thunderbolts
    Thunderbolts (2006) #165

    Thunderbolts (2006) #165

    • Published: November 16, 2011
    • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 01, 2012
    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “The Thunderbolts trapped back in time pretending to be World War II-era heroes and teaming up with Captain America and the Invaders? So much fun.”
  1. The Secret Is Out
    Thunderbolts (1997) #10

    Thunderbolts (1997) #10

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Bridge attacks the Thunderbolts and reveals to the public the team’s identity as the Masters of Evil in disguise. A crucial turning point for the team and the series.”
  1. Zemo Negotiates with Captain America
    Thunderbolts (2006) #105

    Thunderbolts (2006) #105

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “When Zemo works with Captain America to bring down Tony Stark’s pro-registration crew and free the imprisoned heroes, we see a wonderful bit of drama as both Zemo and Steve have to come to terms with how they’ve changed and the strange allegiances now required to get the job done.”
  1. Fixer Sacrifices Himself to the Time Loop
    Thunderbolts (2006) #174

    Thunderbolts (2006) #174

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “This amazing sequence captures Norbert’s evolution from villain to unsure hero, as he destroys his past self and has to sacrifice himself to save all of reality. A poignant and fitting end to the first long run of the series.”
  1. Thunderbolts Enters the Initiative
    Thunderbolts (2006) #110

    Thunderbolts (2006) #110

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “The intense drama brought to THUNDERBOLTS with this new direction shook the series to its core. Norman Osborn’s leadership brought legitimacy under the government, but also hard decisions and even more corruption.”
  1. Prison Riot
    Thunderbolts (2006) #147

    Thunderbolts (2006) #147

    • Published: August 18, 2010
    • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 02, 2011
    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “The Raft goes wild as super-powered prisoners try to break free and the Purple Man sows discord everywhere. Songbird, Fixer, and Luke Cage all have powerful parallel stories and they all work wonderfully.”
  1. MACH-1 Turns Himself In
    THUNDERBOLTS (1997) #23
    “Abner’s desire to become a hero and take the Thunderbolts in a better direction meant he had to confront his own criminal past. Stepping up to his punishment for a murder he committed changed the course of the team as they walked that tightrope between heroism and villainy.”
  1. Best Intentions
    Avengers/Thunderbolts (2004) #1

    Avengers/Thunderbolts (2004) #1

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    Zemo’s grand plan to deactivate the superpowers of all heroes—and it plays out with a great series of twists, turns, betrayals, and big moments. So sharp.”
  1. The Original Big Reveal
    Thunderbolts (1997) #1

    Thunderbolts (1997) #1

    What is Marvel Unlimited?

    “When Baron Zemo revealed on the last page of THUNDERBOLTS #1 the team’s identity as the Masters of Evil in disguise, using the disappearance of the Avengers and Fantastic Four as a way to trick the public into accepting them as heroes, it shocked readers and put the series on the map. It made it clear that we weren’t going to hold [the] Thunderbolts to the expectations of classic superhero teams. 20 years and a few hundred issues later, that still holds true. Here’s to many more exciting stories of Marvel’s fascinatingly flawed team of misfit hero/villain/anti-heroes!”

Commemorate 20 years of T-Bolts in THUNDERBOLTS #10 on February 22 with Jim Zub and Jon Malin!

Read More